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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Don't boycott elections: Mehbooba Mufti's appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir

'Today’s election is not about power, water and road. Our identity, resources, heritage, our land, so much so our jobs are under assault. It is time to rise against that'

Muzaffar Raina Jammu Published 19.04.24, 05:54 AM
Mehbooba Mufti after filing her nomination papers in Anantnag on Thursday.  

Mehbooba Mufti after filing her nomination papers in Anantnag on Thursday.   PTI

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday raised the spectre of unnamed forces trying to boycott the elections in South Kashmir and turn the residents of Jammu and Kashmir into bonded labourers.

The PDP chief levelled allegations as she filed her nomination from South Kashmir's Anantnag Rajouri seat.

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The development unfolded as Congress deserter Ghulam Nabi Azad, dubbed by rivals as the BJP’s secret ally, surprisingly withdrew his nomination from the seat.

Though Mehbooba did not take names, the state forces appeared to be her target. If true, she insinuated, there were efforts to borrow a leaf out of the militants' textbook.

"Today’s election is not about power, water and road. Our identity, resources, heritage, our land, so much so our jobs are under assault. It is time to rise against that,” she said.

“I appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir not to boycott elections. (There are) those who do not want elections in South Kashmir, those who want to boycott it. Expose their conspiracies, vote for those you think talk about the oppressed, the prisoners,” she said.

In the past, militants have called for boycotts, but many would do it voluntarily. No militant group has issued any boycott call this time.

Mehbooba’s claim could have been triggered by the concern that the seat witnessed an abysmal 9 per cent turnout in the 2019 elections. The boycott, however, was partly voluntary as it happened in the backdrop of the Burhan Wani agitation that left around 100 dead.

"The fact is that Jammu and Kashmir has been converted into an open jail. Our resources, power projects, sand and lithium are being snatched from you. There is an effort underway to turn us into bonded labourers," Mehbooba said.

"We will not allow people of Jammu and Kashmir to turn into bonded labourers. This land belongs to us, our identity is ours. We will not allow an assault on it,” said the former chief minister.

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